PVH, which runs Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger among other apparel brands, announced on Wednesday that company President Stefan Larsson will succeed Manny Chirico as CEO, effective Feb. 1.
Chirico, who has been chief executive since 2006, will remain chairman of the board, according to a company press release.
Larsson has worked closely with Chirico since arriving as president last year, the company said. Before then, Larsson served a little over a year as CEO of Ralph Lauren. Previous to that he was global president at Gap Inc.'s Old Navy and for almost 15 years was at H&M in his native Sweden, eventually landing leadership roles.
PVH is likely a natural fit for Larsson, who is credited with strength in logistics and speed to market.
Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti in a Wednesday note called him the "very-capable Stefan Larsson" and said the timing of the appointment was expected.
"Larsson's supply chain efficiency & process improvement talent is a catalyst for PVH to extend best practices across categories (where there are gaps today)," Binetti said.
Larsson's brief stint at Ralph Lauren was probably less of a fit, as anyone in the pilot's seat must work closely with a founder who, as Columbia University retail studies professor Mark Cohen puts it, can be "both brilliantly creative and ridiculously indulgent."
The pandemic is putting Larsson's strengths to the test. The apparel conglomerate was among the first to discuss how the disease outbreak was roiling its supply chain and sales, saying in April that plans were to pack and hold some inventory into next year. By early this month, Larsson told analysts that the company mitigated that by boosting e-commerce more than 50% in the second quarter, with 87% of online sales from its own websites and much of it through Amazon.
"From an inventory management perspective, as a result of stronger than expected sell-throughs of spring-summer 2020 product, we are carrying over less than expected product into the spring 2021 season," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
Chirico and Larsson have also recently moved to trim PVH's portfolio, in January selling its Speedo North America business to Pentland Group for $170 million in cash and in July announcing the permanent closure of its 162 Heritage Brands outlet stores by mid-2021. Those mid-priced brands include Izod, Van Heusen, Warner's, Olga and Geoffrey Beene, as well as lingerie pure-player True&Co. In the process, the company will cut 450 positions or 12% of its workforce, an effort to save $80 million annually.
The Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein retail stores weren't touched by those plans, although the company's work is not likely complete, according to BMO Capital Markets Managing Director Simeon Siegel. "The paradigmatic brand-builder, PVH deserves much credit for what it achieved with Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, growing them into two of the largest brands in history," Siegel said in a July 14 note. "That said, we believe CK has reached a revenue peak and could benefit from a greater focus on profits vs sales."